Three Constants in Affiliate Marketing

Written by: Guest author, Simon Slade

Those of us who have been involved in the affiliate marketing world for a while are all too aware that it is an industry prone to change, and lots of it. A website that makes you money one day, might literally disappear from the search engine rankings overnight, and leave you struggling to find a reason why. The terms of service (TOS) on one of your favorite Web 2.0 sites might change in the blink of an eye, and you suddenly find yourself losing an important traffic or income source. Wouldn’t it be nice just to have some reliable marketing constants for once? Well today, you are going to learn about the three constants in affiliate marketing; these are the things that won’t change any time soon, and they should form the foundations of your affiliate marketing efforts.

1. Content is King

You’ve probably heard this term referred to many times before, without actually paying too much mind to it. However, one of the constants of affiliate marketing is that search engines and readers alike reward quality content. Not only are you going to rank higher in the search engines by creating original, well-researched content that provides value to readers, but you will also build trust. This trust factor will help you to achieve better conversion rates and more sales, since people are far more likely to buy from someone they trust.

Creating quality content IS actually an exact science, and there really isn’t much guesswork involved at all:

  • Find a problem that people in your niche have
  • Research a number of different ways to solve the problem
  • Write it out in a clear and logical fashion
  • Make sure your content contains good grammar and spelling
  • Teach what the headline of your article/content piece promises to teach (this is by far the biggest secret to creating quality content)

Many websites provide free and informative lessons on creating quality content.

2. Keyword Research

I used to have a high school history teacher who swore by what he called the “5 Ps” system – “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.” Not only was this great advice for passing exams, but it relates directly to affiliate marketing as well. Proper keyword research is going to help you prevent poor performance (i.e. not making any sales).

For as long as people have been searching for information online through search engines, keywords have been relevant. According to Wikipedia, Google receives several hundred million searches per day, and with more people coming online every day, this number is only going to increase. It seems unlikely that search engines are ever going to disappear as one of the cornerstones of the Internet!

Keywords are at the very heart of search engine queries, so it makes sense that keyword research – getting to the bottom of what people are actually looking for – is a constant in affiliate marketing.

Look out for keywords based around the following:

  • Urgency (‘fix bad credit score quickly’)
  • Crisis/desperation (‘how to get ex back’)
  • Product name + review (‘The Truth About Abs review’)
  • How to/learn (‘how to fix a broken Xbox 360’/ ‘learn to fix a broken Xbox 360’)
  • Product type (‘dog training DVDs/eBooks/guides’)

To find keywords you could try the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, or get a free copy of Traffic Travis (a little bit of self-promotion there!).

3. Proven Affiliate Products

The final constant in affiliate marketing is making sure you promote proven products. There is always a massive temptation to jump on board and promote the latest products from the Clickbank Marketplace that promise huge commissions and launches, and then fade to nothingness after a while (leaving you stuck promoting a product that isn’t really going anywhere).

As an affiliate, you want to avoid promoting “fly by night” products if you plan to build a reliable income stream that has good growth potential. Instead, focus most of your energy on promoting products that have been around for a while and have a proven track record.

Our SaleHoo affiliate program, for example, has been running since 2005, and provides plenty of resources for affiliates, with new ones added regularly. Look out for affiliate programs of this nature, which provide consistent support and potential on a going forward basis. Take your time when picking products; research here will save you potential headaches down the track.

Some things to look out for are:

  • How long has the product and affiliate program been around
  • Does it offer free resources to help you, the affiliate, do your job properly
  • How easy is it to get in touch with the product owner/affiliate manager
  • Are customer reviews of the product largely positive (look for unbiased reviews in forums or blogs)
  • Is the product high quality (consider asking for a review copy first)

In conclusion, you can see that there are some constants in affiliate marketing – a world that usually evolves at such a rapid rate it can even give experienced marketers a headache. Quality content, solid keyword research, and promoting proven affiliate products; these are the three “bedrock” constants in affiliate marketing that are unlikely to change any time soon.

About the Author

Simon Slade is the CEO of Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal that offers free video training, education, and affiliate tools to both beginning and advanced affiliate marketers.



Leave a Comment


  1. Jim

    Good, sound advice.

    Too many people make affiliate marketing more complicated than it needs to be. If you learn and follow the basic principals of affiliate marketing, your chances of success are much higher.

  2. Mary Schnibben

    Thanks for the great article!
    I’m just getting (re) started with this affiliate thing – used to be w/ Amazon but was barely up & running when they dropped us IL’ers (even tho we gave them over $9 mil in biz) over this dodgy tax stuff. Since many states are cash-strapped, I’m betting more will come on board w/ those tax plans – so what will Amazon & other exclusionary co’s do for biz then?? Kill their affiliate programs altogether? Don’t think so. Until then…

    Am currently looking for co’s that don’t discriminate against those of us who ‘fought the law, but the law won’…I don’t sell ANYthing having to do w/ Amazon these days, btw – eBay welcomes us w/ open arms and I guess (hope) the same is true for CJ and other biggies. Overstock has also dropped us, I believe, but then I don’t really deal w/ large quantities of anything, so that never mattered to me personally.
    Keep up the good work!
    Mary S.

  3. Anton Grantham

    Great post Molly!

    Content will always be king. I have noticed that affiliate programs that are members of the Better Business Bureau are usually pretty reliable.

  4. Andrew Moss


    I totally agree with Simon in reference to the three constants in Affiliate Marketing. Your income can disappear overnight in affiliate marketing, if you neglect to create unique content overtime, on your website.

    We are all aware, or should be, of the recent Panda update by Google that left many Affiliate Marketer in a not to good financial state. Many Marketers that relied on Search Engine Optimization services to automatically do their link building, have lost their rankings in Google overnight. We all know that if there is no traffic, then there will be no sales.

    In Internet Marketing forums all over the world, persons are being admonished to begin the process of creating unique content on their sites, in order to avoid the next update by Google, which is imminent.

    Molly, this is a timely article written by Simon. Simon is correct in saying that your business can survive if you follow the three constants of Affiliate Marketing. I have always known within my heart that “white hat” marketing, using the three constants of Affiliate Marketing,is the best way to go, if you want to survive.


  5. EB

    What is the best strategy an affiliate marketer could use to successfully get a review copy from a vendor? Seems like vendors would be reluctant to hand out excessive copies to scores of affiliates.

  6. Oliver

    And no E-mail Marketing? Seriously? It’s probably the only one reliable source of traffic.

  7. Deepak

    I cannot agree more on this Simon! These 3 constants are never going to change at all. They are the pillars of any online business. I would like to add one more point here, i.e. what you did here, Guest Blogging! It has some awesome potential to bring in highly targeted traffic to one’s blog, provided the blog is high trafficked and the guest article is worth! Thanks.

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